Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Review: Try It! by Mara Rockliff

Today's read is perfect for this month's Woman's History Month theme. I received a book about a woman, who changed the way we eat...and I'd never heard of her. Frieda Caplan started working on the food market in the late 1950's and introduced the sellers and buyers to the huge variety of fruits and vegetables available. Thanks to her, large retailers and restaurants chanced a step outside of their comfort zones and opened up to offering customers the variety we've come to expect today.

But before I say more, read on!

How Frieda Caplan Changed the Way We Eat
by Mara Rockliff
Illustrated by Giselle Potter
Beach Lane Books
Picture Book
32 pages
ages 4 to 8

Meet fearless Frieda Caplan—the produce pioneer who changed the way Americans eat by introducing exciting new fruits and vegetables, from baby carrots to blood oranges to kiwis—in this brightly illustrated nonfiction picture book!

In 1956, Frieda Caplan started working at the Seventh Street Produce Market in Los Angeles. Instead of competing with the men in the business with their apples, potatoes, and tomatoes, Frieda thought, why not try something new? Staring with mushrooms, Frieda began introducing fresh and unusual foods to her customers—snap peas, seedless watermelon, mangos, and more!

This groundbreaking woman brought a whole world of delicious foods to the United States, forever changing the way we eat. Frieda Caplan was always willing to try something new—are you?



                                           * introduces readers to a large variety of foods
                                           * explains how Frieda Caplan changed view on food
                                           * explains about her marketing ideas


The love for food in all of its wonderous variety (while sticking to veggies and fruits) parades right along with the tale of a woman, who changed the way we view eating.

Frieda Caplan was born in the 1920's, and when she grew up, worked at the Seventh Street Produce Market in LA. There, she noticed everyone sold the same things—potatoes, tomatoes, onions, bananas, apples... but that was about it. It wasn't exactly exciting or packed with variety, which she found sad, since she loved trying new foods. Realizing that others might like to try different veggies and fruits, too, she started her own company and centered on offering things others hadn't tried and sold them. Thanks to her, the variety at the market expanded and changed how we eat today.

I'd never heard of Frieda Caplan. So, this book definitely opened my eyes on that end. For young listeners/readers, this one might have been a bit hard to tackle because Frieda does open a business on a food market. But the author does a very good job at making it interesting, while also sliding in information about marketing and such along the side with extreme subtlety. Readers/listeners learn not only about Frieda but get a first glance into business and how steering away from the conventional works.

While this book does cover Frieda Caplan, it also hits upon the wondrous variety of fruits and vegetables found in the world. Each page illustrates known, little known and hardly known...if not completely unknown...foods. These are brightly shown, recognizable, and will wake interest and curiosity. The excitement for daring to try new tastes and textures is also clear and a bit contagious.

This one works as a read-aloud and definitely can be used to introduce listeners not only to a little known woman in history and the beginnings of business, but will work great to open kids up to the variety of fruits and vegetables available.

And here they are...

The Author...
Mara Rockliff is the author of many historical books for children, including Mesmerized, winner of the Cook Prize and an Orbis Pictus Honor book, and Gingerbread for Liberty!, an ALA Notable Children’s Book and winner of the Garden State Children’s Book Award and Land of Enchantment Book Award. Under the pen name Lewis B. Montgomery, she wrote all twelve books in the popular Milo and Jazz Mysteries chapter book series, which has been translated into Spanish, French, and Chinese. She lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, with her family. Visit her online at MaraRockliff.com.

The Illustrator...
Giselle Potter has illustrated many books, including Kate and the Beanstalk by Mary Pope Osborne, an ALA-ALSC notable book; The Boy Who Loved Words by Roni Schotter, a Parents’ Choice Gold Award winner; and Cecil the Pet Glacier by Matthea Harvey. She is the author and illustrator of Tell Me What to Dream About and This Is My Dollhouse—both inspired by her daughters—and The Year I Didn’t Go to School, about traveling through Italy with her parents’ puppet troupe when she was eight. Giselle also illustrates “Ties,” a weekly column in the Well section of The New York Times. She lives in Rosendale, New York, with her husband and two daughters. Visit her online at GisellePotter.com. 

No comments: